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Article

Access_open Levying VAT in the EU Customs Union – Towards a Single Indirect Tax Area? The Ordeal of Indirect Tax Harmonisation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2019
Keywords Single indirect tax area, VAT action plan, quick fixes, e-commerce package, definitive VAT system
Authors Ben Terra
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution deals with the latest proposals regarding levying VAT in the European Union (EU) Customs Union.1x The special fiscal territories are not discussed here. The present system, which has been in place since 1993 and was supposed to be transitional, splits every cross-border transaction into an exempted cross-border supply and a taxable cross-border acquisition. It is like a customs system, but lacks equivalent controls and is therefore the root of cross-border fraud. After many years of unsuccessful attempts, the Commission abandoned the objective of implementing definitive VAT arrangements based on the principle of taxing all cross-border supplies of goods in the Member State of their origin, under the same conditions that apply to domestic trade including VAT rates. The European Parliament and the Council agreed that the definitive system should be based on the principle of taxation in the Member State of the destination of the goods. After a brief discussion of the VAT Action Plan of 2016 (Section 1), the e-commerce package in the form of Directive (EU) 2017/2455 is dealt with (Section 2), followed by the proposal to harmonise and simplify certain rules in the VAT system and introduce the definitive system, only partially adopted (Section 3). Section 4 deals with the proposal to introduce detailed measures of the definitive VAT system. The proposed harmonisation and simplification of certain rules were meant to become applicable on 1 January 2019, but will become only partially applicable on 2020. It is proposed to make the detailed measures of the definitive VAT system applicable in 2022. It remains to be seen whether the Member States are willing to accept the definitive VAT system at all; hence the subtitle ‘the ordeal of indirect tax harmonisation’.

Noten

  • * As mentioned in the introductory to this issue of Erasmus Law Review, the author of this article has passed away. The manuscript of this article is closed on 1 February 2019. Where appropriate, the editors of the special issue have included references to recent developments in footnotes.
  • 1 The special fiscal territories are not discussed here.


Ben Terra
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ben Terra was a professor of tax law at the universities of Amsterdam and Lund and visiting professor at the Universidade Católica in Lisbon.
Article

Access_open Impact of International Law on the EU Customs Union

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2019
Keywords European Union, customs union, international law, customs legislation, autonomous standards
Authors Achim Rogmann
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution examines the various international instruments, in both hard and soft law, that have been established by international organisations such as the WTO and WCO and scrutinises how they have been implemented into EU legislation governing the EU Customs Union, thus demonstrating the substantial influence of international instruments on the Customs Union. As the relevant international instruments affect not only the traditional elements of European customs law, but also the EU’s entire export control regime and the framework of the internal market, this contribution demonstrates, moreover, how the Customs Union functions in a globalised world.


Achim Rogmann
Achim Rogmann, LL.M is professor of law at the Brunswick European Law School at Ostfalia Hochschule fur angewandte Wissenschaften.
Article

Access_open The Questionable Legitimacy of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2017
Keywords base erosion and profit shifting, OECD, G20, legitimacy, international tax reform
Authors Sissie Fung
AbstractAuthor's information

    The global financial crisis of 2008 and the following public uproar over offshore tax evasion and corporate aggressive tax planning scandals gave rise to unprecedented international cooperation on tax information exchange and coordination on corporate tax reforms. At the behest of the G20, the OECD developed a comprehensive package of ‘consensus-based’ policy reform measures aimed to curb base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) by multinationals and to restore fairness and coherence to the international tax system. The legitimacy of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project, however, has been widely challenged. This paper explores the validity of the legitimacy concerns raised by the various stakeholders regarding the OECD/G20 BEPS Project.


Sissie Fung
Ph.D. Candidate at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and independent tax policy consultant to international organisations, including the Asian Development Bank.
Article

Access_open Evaluating BEPS

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2017
Keywords tax avoidance, tax evasion, benefits principle
Authors Reuven S. Avi-Yonah and Haiyan Xu
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article evaluates the recently completed Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project of the G20 and OECD and offers some alternatives for reform.


Reuven S. Avi-Yonah
Reuven Avi-Yonah is Irwin I. Cohn Professor of Law, the University of Michigan.

Haiyan Xu
Haiyan Xu is Professor of Law, University of International Business & Economics, Beijing; SJD candidate, the University of Michigan.
Article

Access_open Post-BEPS Tax Advisory and Tax Structuring from a Tax Practitioner’s View

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2017
Keywords BEPS, value creation, tax structuring, international taxation
Authors Paul Lankhorst and Harmen van Dam
AbstractAuthor's information

    The international tax landscape is changing and it is changing fast. The political perception is that taxation of multinational enterprises is not aligned with the ‘economic activity’ that produces their profits (i.e. not aligned with ‘value creation’). The perception links ‘value creation’ with ‘employees and sales’.
    In the BEPS Project of the OECD, the OECD attempts to combat base erosion and profit shifting and to align taxation with value creation. In this article, the authors discuss the impact they expect BEPS to have on tax advisory and tax planning. The focus goes to BEPS Actions 7, 8-10 and 13.
    By maintaining the separate entity approach under BEPS for the taxation of multinationals, has the OECD been forced to ‘stretch’ existing rules beyond their limits? Will the created uncertainty lead to a shift from ‘aggressive tax planning’ by multinationals to ‘aggressive tax collection’ by tax administrations? Will the role of tax advisory change from advising on the lowest possible effective tax rate to a broader advice including risk appetite and public expectations?


Paul Lankhorst
Paul Lankhorst, MSc LLM, is tax adviser at Loyens & Loeff.

Harmen van Dam
Harmen van Dam, LLM, is tax partner at Loyens & Loeff.
Article

Access_open Tax Competition within the European Union – Is the CCCTB Directive a Solution?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2014
Keywords tax competition, tax planning, European Union, Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base, factor manipulation
Authors Maarten de Wilde LL.M
AbstractAuthor's information

    The author addresses the phenomenon of taxable profit-shifting operations undertaken by multinationals in response to countries competing for corporate tax bases within the European Union. The central question is whether this might be a relic of the past when the European Commission’s proposal for a Council Directive on a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base sees the light of day. Or would the EU-wide corporate tax system provide incentives for multinationals to pursue artificial tax base-shifting practices within the EU, potentially invigorating the risk of undue governmental tax competition responses? The author’s tentative answer on the potential for artificial base shifting and undue tax competition is in the affirmative. Today, the issue of harmful tax competition within the EU seems to have been pushed back as a result of the soft law approaches that were initiated in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But things might change if the CCCTB proposal as currently drafted enters into force. There may be a risk that substantial parts of the EU tax base would instantly become mobile as of that day. As the EU Member States at that time seem to have only a single tool available to respond to this – the tax rate – that may perhaps initiate an undesirable race for the EU tax base, at least theoretically.


Maarten de Wilde LL.M
LL.M, Researcher/lecturer, Erasmus University Rotterdam (<dewilde@law.eur.nl>), lecturer, University of Amsterdam, tax lawyer, Loyens & Loeff NV, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. This article was written as part of the Erasmus School of Law research programme on ‘Fiscal Autonomy and Its Boundaries’. The author wishes to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on an earlier draft of this article.

Marios Koutsias
Lecturer in Law, University of Essex.

Chris Willett
Professor of Commercial Law, University of Essex.

Elena Fagotto
Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam; Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School. E-mail: fagotto@frg.eur.nl. The author wishes to thank Alessandra Arcuri, Michael Faure, participants in the European Society for Risk Analysis Conference in London (June 2010) and an anonymous referee for valuable comments. I am also deeply indebted to Archon Fung at Harvard Kennedy School.

Bernd van der Meulen
B.M.J. van der Meulen is Professor of Law and Governance at Wageningen University, the Netherlands <http://www.law.wur.nl/uk>; Chairman of the Dutch Food Law Association <http://www.nvlr.nl>; Director of the European Institute for Food Law <http://www.food-law.nl>; member of the Board of Directors of the European Food Law Association <http://www.efla-aeda.org>; and member of the Editorial Board of the European Food and Feed Law Review <http://www.lexxion.eu/effl>. This contribution elaborates on previous publications, such as: Bernd van der Meulen and Menno van der Velde, European Food Law Handbook (2008), available at: <http://www.wageningenacademic.com/foodlaw>; Irene Scholten-Verheijen, Bernd van der Meulen and Theo Appelhof, Landkaart levensmiddelenrecht (2009); and Bernd van der Meulen, Harry Bremmers, Leon Geyer, Nidhi Gupta and Hans Bouwmeester, Nano Food Regulation: Towards an Adaptive Regulatory Infrastructure for Nanotechnology Applications in the Food Sector (forthcoming). Many thanks to Prof. Margaret Rosso Grossman, Anna Szajkowska and Irene Scholten-Verheijen for their valuable comments and suggestions. Comments are welcome at <Bernd.vanderMeulen@wur.nl>.
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